Egypt plans up to $7bn in international bonds in 2019-2020

Egypt’s ratio of debt to gross domestic product is on a downward trend and should drop to 77.5 percent by the end of June 2022. (AFP)
Updated 09 September 2019

Egypt plans up to $7bn in international bonds in 2019-2020

  • Egypt is interested in diversifying the currencies in which it issues its bonds to ensure hedging within the portfolio
  • Issuing sukuk, green bonds, yen or yuan bonds could allow Egypt to attract a new type of investor

CAIRO: Egypt intends to issue international bonds worth $3 billion $7 billion in the 2019-2020 financial year, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said on Monday.
Egypt is also interested in diversifying the currencies in which it issues its bonds to ensure hedging within the portfolio, Maait said during an economic conference in Cairo.
The country has borrowed heavily from abroad since a $12 billion package was agreed. It faces a tough repayment schedule and a rising bill for oil imports.
Issuing sukuk, green bonds, yen or yuan bonds could allow Egypt to attract a new type of investor as a three-year IMF-backed economic reform program agreed in late 2016 draws to a close.
Maait said Egypt’s ratio of debt to gross domestic product is on a downward trend and should drop to 77.5 percent by the end of June 2022. The debt-to-GDP ratio was at 9025 percent in the fiscal year that ended in June, he said.
“We would love to go for yuan and yen,” Maait said in a separate interview on the sidelines of the Euromoney Egypt investment conference.
“We tried last year, but there are a lot of requirements. We couldn’t get all the requirements done. If we can do it this year, we would love to see Egypt going to these markets.”
The ministry is also looking at issuing green bonds and sukuk, Islamic bonds, but is not committing to a specific type of bond issuance, Maait said.
“We are targeting something between 3 (billion dollars) as a minimum and 7 as a maximum,” he said.
Last year, the ministry issued more than $6 billion in international bonds.
“We may do the same this year — or lower than that or higher than that — but within this boundary,” Maait said, without giving more details.
He declined to give details on when any issuance would take place nor which markets would be targeted.
Egyptian officials have previously announced their intention to issue Islamic bonds, but the plans did not materialize. Maait said some progress has been made on the procedures necessary to issue bonds in yen and yuan but did not elaborate.


At Davos, innovative products point to a sustainable future

Updated 24 January 2020

At Davos, innovative products point to a sustainable future

  • A single tree that to bear 40 different types of apple

DAVOS: The World Economic Forum is not all about the fourth industrial revolution or the rise of AI.

You can also find all manner of strange and intriguing products on display from biodegradable plastic made from algae to wallpaper made from recycled corn husks.

One stand titled “How do you design a tree?” is part of a conservation effort where a single tree is designed to bear 40 different types of apple.

Another stand displays colored seaweed on a rack, showing how clothes can be dyed in a sustainable, non-chemically corrosive manner.

Propped along a large wall is Fernando Laposse’s wallpaper made of variations of purple corn husks that are reinforced with recycled cardboard and cork to create wallpaper and furniture. The husks come from corn that needs very little water and can be grown in the desert, which makes it all the more sustainable.

“This initiative helps the local economy as it brings in jobs and a resurgence of crafts and food traditions while also ensuring sustainability,” Laposse said.

Another display shows a machine that extracts pellets from a mixture of algae and starch and is used to create a thread that is the base of 3D printing. These sustainable, biodegradable plastics made from algae are being experimented with in different regions.

With the rise of deep fakes — a branch of synthetic media in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness — another stand delivers a warning on the looming dangers of unregulated software.

The Davos forum prides itself on its sustainability, and key topics have included climate, mobility, energy and the circular economy. Everything is recyclable, and participants must download an application in order to keep up with the program and any changes — a move to cut down on paper waste.